Today, contactless payment by card, watch or phone directly at checkout is one of the most intuitive options. But it looks like in the future we won’t even have to take our wallet or phone out of our pocket or press a button on our watch. In the US, one of the largest supermarket chains, Whole Foods, is introducing direct payment with the palm of your hand, with scanners to be placed at checkouts in several locations.
Palm scan payment is faster than contactless
Whole Foods is a supermarket chain owned by Amazon, a company that has been trying for years to create a payment experience with as few customer interactions as possible. Amazon has also opened several kiosks in several US cities where you can take anything off the shelf and walk out of the store without physically paying. The automated system tracks user activity through surveillance cameras and advanced inventory management systems and charges the customer’s Amazon account automatically.
In the case of Whole Foods supermarkets, Amazon wants to allow customers to pay at checkout by simply using their palm on a payment scanner. It’s called Amazon One will be equipped with a camera, which photographs the palm and can link it to a personal account. The data stored on this account is the card number and personal phone number. So even if you’ve forgotten your wallet or phone, or both, at home or in the car, you can still make a payment to buy goods in the supermarket.
On the security front, Amazon says the information is not stored locally, but encrypted and sent to the cloud to a dedicated server for the Amazon One service. So it doesn’t matter which Whole Foods store you’re in, if it’s so equipped, you can pay without a card, cash or phone, just with the palm of your hand. The system has already been successfully tested in select stores in New York, Austin and Seattle, and now they’re coming to Malibu, Montana Avenue and Santa Monica in California.
Presumably, if this type of system proves successful, other supermarket chains will adopt similar technology, or perhaps even license Amazon’s Amazon One system.